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a temporary project for one month. these would have impeded fire safety. we have documents from the fire department stating that but they did it really without any analysis. so getting back to your bulb-out question, no, i think probably if you had a project that involved nothing with bulbouts -- but that's not this project. >> supervisor wiener: thank you. >> president chiu: i have one follow-up question what supervisor wiener asked. i heard you answer a question earlier about how it's your perspective that there is environmental review that's required here. and i certainly appreciate that there are differences of opinion in the community about whether this is good policy, whether this is the right thing to do. but i think the question in front of us is again whether this ought to be categorically exempt. and what i'm having trouble understanding is that plain language of one of the exemptions for environmental review is the creation of bicycle lanes and existing rights of way.
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i can't imagine being clearer than that. what i don't understand is just, again, how are you proposing we get around what is clearly stated statutory if that is the question. >> the preamble says minor alteration. in both exemptions, they have to be a minor alteration, and bike lane is listed as one of the examples of a type of minor alteration. but just because it's a bike lane doesn't therefore mean it's a minor alteration. it's a two-pronged -- basically the criteria it's got to be a minor alteration and then bike lane is listed as one of the possible types of minor alteration. but that doesn't mean every bike lane is a minor alteration. that was the -- as i understand it, that was the argument that the city made on the big bike plan and they got slapped down by the dort when they made --
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court when they made that argument. >> president chiu: if i could respond to that the code refers to what is described as quote minor alterations for example new -- landscape, filling of earth and then it lists a number of minor alterations of land. again, colleagues, in case you hadn't had a chance to read other exemptions, it refers to the new gardening, filling of earth, minor alteration in land water -- officially designated wildlife management areas, minor -- having no permanent effects on the environment, minor trenching or backfilling and then goes to other descriptions that aren't qualified with the word minor. so if your suggestion is that we have to read the word minor into a minor creation of bicycle lanes, it just doesn't seem to be backed up in the statute. >> i'm not following what you're saying. i think the preamble to that is minor. those other examples you cited mostly have to do with landscape and gardening are examples of things that would be typically -- or that could be
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considered minor but that doesn't mean that every single thing on that list is always considered minor. again, i get back to the -- this is one of the exemptions that was relied on when this city decided not to do an eir on the big bike plan. and the court said no, you -- it's a question of fact as to whether something is minor or not minor, depending on how extensive it is. in this case we have the raised concrete plantares which had never been done before, which are going to be in the middle of the pavement on two of the busiest streets in the city, you're going to have trucks going down there, you're going to have's cars circling, bicycles in close proximity with fast-moving motor vehicles. to say that's minor i don't see that. >> president chiu: again, i think i appreciate we have a
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difference of opinion on this. the only last thing i would say seems to me that you're reading a requirement into the code that simply isn't there. there are certain types of alterations that are qualified with the word minor but others in that list there's nothing that refers to the minor creation of bicycle lanes. >> no. i don't have it behind me, it's hard to reach. i don't have it in my notes right here. the preamble that says minor refers to everything in that -- in the list that follows it. >> president chiu: if i could just be clear and again we don't have to engage on this, this says this class consists of minor or public alterations examples include but not limited to and there's a list and some of the items are included with the word minor, as i said but others are simply if you are engaged in gardening or landscaping that is exempt. if you're engaged in trenching that is exempt. if you're involved in bicycle lanes and existing rights of way that is also exempt. >> are you suggesting the court was wrong when they said the city had to do an eir?
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>> president chiu: i'm saying i think you're reading words into statutes that don't exist but again i appreciate we have a difference of opinion on that. supervisor campos. >> supervisor campos: thank you, mr. president. thank you for the presentation. i'm wondering, along the lines of what president chiu was asking, i mean what's your definition of minor? i mean -- >> again, i don't think we need to get to what would be minor. in this case, it's clearly not minor when you have a creation of a bike lane on oak where none exists at all, when you have, on fell street, you're moving a bike lane about seven feet over. on both streets, you're putting in these fixed concrete plantares. you're also narrowing the -- you're reducing the road capacity on oak street in the middle of the morning rush hour by 25%, by taking out one lane.
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you're also reducing the road capacity of baker street. you are also removing 100 or so street parking spaces on oak and fell, including some white zones and some yellow zones. so we haven't talked about the parking -- but when you add that all up together, it's definitely not minor. and i don't think that -- in order to make your decision, i don't think you need to decide what is the small -- what is the biggest minor thing that is exempt because this is way, way, way above that biggest minor thing that would be exempt. >> supervisor campos: well you had a traffic study that was done here. >> first of all it wasn't an independent traffic study. it didn't -- it was discussed in about two pages of their declaration, saying it's
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categorically exempt. we've been asking for them to do independent studies on what -- and also the traffic study talks about level of service deck rements or increments but it doesn't say there's no study done whatsoever about the effect of the loss of that much parking. it's based on the opinion, or the experience of san francisco traffic planners. but the fact -- essentially, their argument is that when you remove parking, people either shift their mode of transportation, or they just decide to stay away altogether. well there's some statistics, i don't have them -- i don't have the exact numbers but i looked recently, the mta has these annual reports, and from about 2008 to 2011, the number of
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street parking spaces decreased by 12 or 13%, and the number of automobiles registered in san francisco decreased by about 1%. so that's a piece of evidence that would seem to indicate that the idea that, when you remove parking from a very dense neighborhood, that there's no impact, is just against the common sense of almost everybody who lives in that neighborhood, and who's ever had to find parking. >> supervisor campos: aren't they adding parking as well in some streets? >> well the net -- the removing of 100 parking spaces on oak and fell, they are putting back a certain number -- so that includes both the bulbouts and the parking removal for the bike lanes. they're putting back a certain number, about 13 i think it is, by removing some of the bus
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stops on the 21 hayes. and in fact one of those bus stops that they were going to remove was actually outside what they considered the project area. but the other thing is that they're going to be doing is converting what is now parallel parking on three blocks of baker and one block of scott into either a -- in some cases perpendicular and in some cases back-in angled parking. but they to get credit for the number of parking spaces added back by including all of those, whereas in fact some of those blocks are actually outside of what they consider to be the project area. so you've got about a net -- the way i calculate it, you've got a net of about 11 or 12% of parking loss. and when you -- and particularly they haven't done any studies of any kind, as far as i'm aware of, at night. and this is where the parking is really the most scarce. so the idea that -- we
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sunshined -- we sunshined requested what is their -- what documents support their conclusion, or even what documents relate to their conclusion, about -- that if you remove parking, there's essentially no environmental impact. and the answer both from the mta and from the planning department was we have no documents. that was shocking. and not only that, in the answer, it said -- the answer from the planning department said something like, we have no documents, we just inserted our standard boilerplate language that when you remove parking there's no environmental impact. well there's no empirical data to support this, there's nothing whatsoever to support that. >> president chiu: thank you. >> supervisor campos: i think as if my friend charlie would say i get your point. so thank you. >> president chiu: thank you. >> any other questions? >> president chiu: any other questions, colleagues? at this time, why don't we go to
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members of the public that wish to speak on behalf of the appellants. if you could please line up on the right-hand side of the chamber. and please step up to the microphone. first speaker please. walter, that's you. >> hello. it's working. ♪ city, city, give me your environmental review ♪ ♪ i'm half crazy all for bike riding with you ♪ ♪ and we won't -- we will ride through oak street, but you'll look sweet, upon the city bike seat, of a bicycle -- and you're riding there with president chiu ♪ >> president chiu: thank you. next speaker.
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>> hello. j.j. dillon, i came to san francisco in 1994 when i got out of the service, i went to usf, i worked hard in the city, i finally bought a place in the city last year. i'm not going to argue the merits of the bike policy. i went to one meeting but most of the meetings are held during the day when i actually work, thank you very much. but let's get down to the issue of whether this really needs environmental review. we can argue about what's minor. we can argue about what might be major. but i'd like you to do something tonight. i would like you to realize that there's a giant project going on three blocks from your house, and that that project is three blocks away from another giant project. that's going to take away a combined almost 230 parking spots. they're going to move into the neighborhood or move into other neighborhoods. how is the city not looking at this as a whole plan, not just taking little individual neighborhoods and railroading them through. a better plan would be to look at the entire bicycle lane
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issues. i don't think it's major. i think it would be minor when you ask what is the difference between minor and major. minor is a bike lane on mccallister. minor is a bike lane on paige. major is a bike lane running through masonic going through fell. have you seen the amount of cars there? do you see the amount of cars backing in to get on to the bay bridge? do you see the amount of airport shuttles, amount of taxis that are using that route? as i said i'm not here to argue the merits of the route but the city owes it so itself to be a complete impact of the entire plan and all plans in the area. thank you. >> president chiu: next speaker. >> good evening, board members. this is off the bike path real quick because i've been here all day as well and i want to make this comment before it gets too late. i don't know if you all know in your districts, my office down
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at transport workers union is in receipt of a letter from the agency, the sf mt agency that they're going to cut office over the holiday weekend, not knowing -- i'm pretty sure you don't know about this. >> president chiu: is this comment relevant to this appeal? >> yes. >> president chiu: okay. thank you. next speaker. and if i could ask folks again, your comments during this comment period, is on this appeal. >> hello. i'm dan coolly, and i am concerned that there is no environmental impact report associated with this major change to the city's traffic flow, major change to pedestrians, major change to folks that will be in wheelchairs, attempting to access, major change to neighbors that are trying to
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park their vehicles in that very highly impacted and highly crowded neighborhood. it's shocking to me that the city would -- with a straight face, think that this was not some kind of a significant impact that would at least warrant environmental review. i'm not saying ultimately whether the project should or should not be adopted, but to think that it's entitled to some kind of a categorical exemption is a minor alteration is absolutely shocking to me as a member of the public. i am personally very concerned about these plantares in the middle of the street. if they get into intersections, and you're someone trying to walk with a cane, these plantares will be a major concern to me, as someone who has a visual issue as i walk down the street, looking for things that are abnormal, like a plantar, will really throw my
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path to travel off and could cause me to veer directly into traffic, given the fatals just cr yesterday on biel and market, as someone with all of their census walking into the intersection was just killed yesterday on biel and market. i'm shocked that this city would really think that this project, on fell street, and oak street, with such a large number of folks who are impacted, should be approved without some kind of an environmental review. i have worked in the environmental review area at various times -- >> president chiu: thank you very much. next speaker. >> my name is -- i live and work in that neighborhood, and i own a business at the corner of oak and divis. i'm also shocked there is no
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review at all of the impact on the streets and the delivery systems and all the things that are happening in that area. if you even try to block the streets with some cones and test it out for a minute to see what the real impact is, it will probably give us a better picture of what this feels and looks like. i've been delivering in that area for -- since -- at least 15, 18 years. and i drive through that street all the time, day in and day out. and i really feel like a real true study is very important to that area. i'm all for the safety of the bikers and i'm all for bikes. i ride bikes myself. i just don't feel this is the right way to do it without getting the right study done. thank you. >> i apologize, i have a little bit of a cold. i live in the neighborhood. i can echo a lot of the other constituents that our concern with young kids and a family is yes, you ride bikes and it's an
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integral part. but when you look at san francisco and how the city interacts and the infrastructure these are key areas for both a residential, commercial, and also distribution of thoroughfares through the city so major changes in how it's structured could have a dramatic and material impact on how people get to work and how the city flows. so i think it is important -- as of now, no one really has a thorough understanding of what the impact would be because practically no studies have been done. so before we really make major changes, it is important to go through the steps. and don't put ourselves in a position where we make a -- harmful impact by eliminating some of the major thoroughfares through the city. >> good evening. my name is -- 7:30 pm last night
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divisadero and oak, bicyclist running a red light, three pedestrians entering the crosswalk, look of shock in their eyes. to avoid hitting anything or anybody, the bicyclist swerved and turned into oncoming traffic. fortunately no one was injured. fortunately nobody was hurt. these types of incidents are going on all the time in our neighborhood. and as you probably -- some of you also realize in other parts of the city, but specifically for this neighborhood, we need to look at the impact on pedestrians, we need an environmental review that goes to the issue about what's going on with pedestrians in our neighborhood. i've stood on oak street, and i've counted pedestrians, i've counted cars, i've counted bicyclists. on oak street, especially between broderick and
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divisadero, the number one traffic of course are vehicles, followed by pedestrians, and a distant third are bicyclists. we have a very large number of pedestrians in the area. and by adding more bicycles to a very heavily congested area -- these are multiple casualties waiting to happen. again, foot traffic in the area is major. i ask you to do the right thing, to do some study on safety to pedestrians in the area. there's -- again, we have pedestrians going to the falletti's shopping center. we have pedestrians along divisadero, we have pedestrians along oak, going from haight ashbury all the way --
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>> president chiu: thank you very much. thank you. thank you. next speaker. >> good evening. my name's steve and i'm a passionate cyclist as well as a father living on scott and fell. and the reason this needs an environmental impact report is because already, the environment has become hostile. because all the neighbors and business owners know i'm a cyclist i hear every day the grievances how this is a serious negative impact on their lives, on the ability to live in the neighborhood, not only for customers and parking, but for dealing with picking up kids, dealing with even environmental reasons like sound. my house now used to have cars parked out there, they were a nice buffer, now there's a ricochet of a wall blasting on my window. i think i'll stick with the environmental issues because there's a better plan -- i mean the other plans were drawn up to benefit cyclists. i'm a cyclist -- cycling first.
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this is a four lane freeway, cars going faster, they're using ann and scott on fell cars flip-flop immediately. we have 10 cars -- it's probably the craziest design i've ever seen and by far not safer than the way it was previously. i please hope you give some environmental review. thank you. >> president chiu: thanks. next speaker. >> thank you. my name is wendy cook and i'm a resident in the neighborhood. this is my first civic project. i've never been involved in anything that involves local city government before. and i went started going to the meetings, because i was interested. i'm not a renter, i'm not an owner, i have nothing to lose except looking at this project as somebody who might be impacted because there might be more cars in the neighborhood, circling for parking. but i did write a letter because when i started to attend the
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meetings, i started to hear things like oh, we don't have to do that, we don't have to do that, sf mta can govern itself and we don't have to do, and it actually concerned me as a policy for the city and as a resident of the city that there are agencies that are self-governing and don't feel like they have to comply with statutes that other businesses have had to, like filleti plaza being an example. they had to do an environmental impact study on something that was a smaller area within the neighborhood. so i just wanted to make the case that i think that it is a good idea to evaluate this as a precedent for a city where there are -- there isn't a beltway. there isn't a way for people to get north, south, east, and west without using surface streets. maybe the best thing for safety is to maybe consider certain streets as through-put for cars
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and others are better and safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. thank you. >> president chiu: thanks. next speaker. >> thank you. my name's -- and i am the owner of fullton food shop on fulton and mason yiic and i have a gren zone that i pay for on masonic for loading, unloading, a customer to make a quick run late night and you're taking away this option by taking away the parking. that's not going to be the right thing. i just don't see why taking away the parking is going to make it better environmental and safer for pedestrians and people who live on masonic. thank you. >> president chiu: any other members of the public wish to speak on behalf of the appellants? seeing none, why don't we now hear from the planning department. you have up to 10 minutes for describing the grounds of your determination that the project is exempt from environmental review. >> good afternoon, president
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chiu, members of the board. i am brent bowling jer, environmental planner with the planning department. joining me is victoria wise, senior planner and project supervisor for the sf mta fell and oak street bikeways project that is the subject of today's appeal. also here today is luis montoya, mta project manager and other mta staff to answer questions. during testimony today, planning department continues to find that the project categorical exemption determination was adequate, accurate and fulfilled the city's requirements pursuant to ceqa guidelines in chapter 31 of the san francisco administrative code. decisions before the board is whether to uphold the department's decision to issue a
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categorical exemption and deny the appeal or return the project to department for additional environmental review. as detailed in the categorical exemption the department concluded fell and oak street categorical exemption under ceqa guideline section or class 1c section 15304h or class 4h. the proposed implementation of bulbouts, on street parking changes, and enhancement of the bike lane would be -- under the class 1(c) which revises exemption to existing highways and streets, sidewalks, gutters, bicycle and pedestrian trails and similar facilities. the changes contemplated by the project are considered minor or negative liberal as they would be implemented within the right of way on both fell and oak
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streets and do not fundamentally change the system in the project vicinity. prohibiting parking would be a minor alteration of the right of way. both fell and oak streets would remain three through-travel lanes and there would be no expansion of existing use of the street as the project does not generate vehicle travel trips. in addition the traffic island sidewalk bulbouts and advanced limit lines would be -- minor alterations to the existing street or right of way due to their small size and negligible change to the existing transportation facility. the proposed implementation of a new bike lane and buffer within the existing oak street right of way would be appropriate within the definition of ceqa guidelines class 4h which provides exemption for environmental review for creation of a new bicycle lane on existing rights of way. the appellant issues in the appeal letters include topics
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such as transit, public safety, emergency loading, air quality, parking removal and cumulative analysis. regarding traffic the categorical exemption concluded the traffic would not result in significant impact to traffic since implementation of the proposed project, the level of service at the intersection would continue to operate at acceptable levels. regarding transit, public projed not result in -- such that traffic redistribution to side streets would occur. as such muni line 21 hayes, 71 haight noriega and 6 parnassus would not operate any slower and would not result in significant impact. regarding pedestrian safety, project includes sidewalk bulbouts as well as enhanced -- markings and advanced limit lines at intersections of majority of corners in the project area.
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through increased pedestrian visibility and -- crossing at that intersection pedestrian conditions would improve. therefore no significant pedestrian impaction would occur with implementation of the project. the project would not generate any additional traffic trips or substantially reduce the roadway capacity and would not significantly alter the transportation network. this finding is supported by the traffic analysis conducted for the project. the traffic analysis was conducted by a licensed mta traffic engineer and reviewed by another licensed mta traffic engineer. it was subsequently thoroughly reviewed by two planning department transportation planners. analysis was conducted by a -- as part of the transportation impact study it would show the same los level of result as in the categorical exemption certificate. in other words the planning department required the same

December 23, 2012 4:00pm-4:30pm PST

TOPIC FREQUENCY Chiu 20, Campos 5, San Francisco 5, Divisadero 2, City 2, Hayes 2, New Gardening 1, Unloading 1, Gutters 1, Us 1, Wheelchairs 1, Usf 1, Workers Union 1, Mta 1, Haight Noriega 1, Sf 1, Crosswalk 1, The City 1, Paige 1, Luis Montoya 1
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